PizzaExpress' earnings were hit by industry cost pressures and the turbulent weather conditions in the UK as well as lower operating margins internationally, according to its half-year results.
Group earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) were down 16.3% to £35.1m the pizza chain's half year results for the 26 weeks ended 1 July 2018 revealed. PizzaExpress reported a 2.5% increase in group turnover to £262.8m, although like-for-like sales were down by 1.1%.
Underlying like-for-like sales grew 0.9% in the UK and Ireland, excluding the impact from adverse weather conditions, which saw nearly 90 PizzaExpress restaurants close due to snow, before hot weather in the late spring impacted visitors.
The group opened three new sites in the UK and Ireland during the period, including its second roadside services franchise site.
Internationally, total sales grew 10.4% with 15 new site openings despite like-for-like sales falling 3%.
Jinlong Wang, group chairman and chief executive of PizzaExpress, said: "The strength of our brand and the quality of our customer experience means PizzaExpress has continued to deliver a resilient performance in the UK & Ireland, despite the widely publicised pressures that continue to impact the UK eating out market
"Looking ahead, we expect the UK trading environment to remain challenging. The strength of our brand means that our trading performance has been resilient in such conditions, however more than ever we are looking at how we improve and develop our business to better enhance our customers' experience. We remain committed to our international markets and are working hard to refine our offer overseas."